Christmas cash is practically a license to buy all the frivolous stuff that I couldn’t justify earlier in the year. Laura and I took another trip to Blockbuster last night after dinner. Though Laura couldn’t find a movie to rent, I made out like a bandit in the used video game section. As the kids might say, “25% off for the win!”
A first-person shooter that takes place in the Old West, or what some call “The Weird West.” Outlaw Jericho Cross, seeking a quick payoff, robs the wrong train. In doing so, he releases an ancient vampire named Lazarus. ((That’s right, the “hero” is a man whose initials are “J.C.” and he resurrects a vampire named Lazarus.)) Rather than kill Jericho, Lazarus embraces ((Dear White Wolf: Please don’t sue me for using the term “embrace” to describe one vampire creating another. Hugs and kisses, Kris.)) him, and the outlaw begins his transformation into a blood-sucking, undead horror. Jericho flees Lazarus, hoping to join up with a group called the Darkwatch, who… well, I don’t know what they do yet. I haven’t gotten that far. I played for just shy of an hour last night and I’m enjoying the game so far. It’s a cross between Red Dead Revolver — probably my favorite Xbox FPS — and Van Helsing. Jericho has access to a variety of ranged weapons (including a pistol called “The Redeemer”), most of which have some manner of blade built into the butt or stock, allowing Jericho to use them as brutal melee weapons when the shambling, undead wretches get too close for comfort. As a secondary ranged attack, Jericho can throw stuff. So far, I’ve found only one throwable weapon: dynamite. Pretty effective, though. As the game progresses, Jericho will gain more vampiric powers. Right now, he’s got some nifty “blood vision” and a “vampire jump.” He’ll also gain special abilities depending upon whether he performs “good” or “evil” actions at certain points in the game. I’ve been playing him as a goody-two-shoes outlaw up to this point, so he’s got silver bullets that do additional damage againt the aforementioned undead wretches.
Now my Splinter Cell collection is complete. ((Well, except for the new paperback novel I saw on the shelf at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago.)) Sam Fisher is my hero, and Michael Ironside ((Okay, totally off-topic here. Am I the only person on the planet who wants to see Michael Ironside and Kurtwood Smith throw down?)) is the perfect guy to give him a voice. If they ever do a Splinter Cell movie (oh, you know they will), they’ll have to get Ironside to dub all of Ben Affleck’s lines. ((Dear Hollywood: That was a joke. Please don’t cast Ben Affleck as Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell movie. Thank you. BFF, Kris.)) Given that I’ve yet to complete the second Splinter Cell game, Pandora Tomorrow, there was some internal debate as to whether or not I should pick up Chaos Theory. I was toying with the idea of getting Jade Empire instead, but I thought that might make Sam mad. I imagined hearing a gravelly voice say, “There’s a man in my way, Lambert,” then barely being aware of my head being turned around 180 degrees before all turned to darkness. ((I didn’t wet my pants a little bit while thinking about that. Not right there at the used video game table of the local Blockbuster. No, sir. Not me.)) Plus, Chaos Theory has a cooperative multiplayer mode, which is good news for Miscellaneous G™ and me.
Someone decided to take the open-ended, free form style of the Grand Theft Auto series and apply it to the Spider-Man franchise. ((The same has been done with everybody’s favorite yellow family in The Simpsons Hit & Run, which is tons of fun.)) Good idea. I liked the first Spider-Man: The Movie: The Game well enough, but some of the restrictions on the gameplay were just plain silly. For instance, Spider-Man could not descend below a certain level while web-swinging through the city or he would… die. Just up and croak. Silly, I tell you. In the second installment, Spidey is free to go pretty much where ever he wants. He swings between and around buildings, runs along the sidewalk, hops a ride on a passing car and goes for a refreshing swim in the harbor. There’s a storyline to follow, but if you’d rather just patrol the streets saving people from thugs, foiling bank robberies, chasing getaway cars and the like, there is no shortage of randomly-generated mini-missions available. I rented Spider-Man 2 earlier this year, and had a blast with it, so this was a good find. Next up on my Spidey game wish list: Ultimate Spider-Man.